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'Catch a grip' - Gemma Garrett slams online critics of BBC's beauty queen dating show

By Claire Williamson

Former Miss Great Britain Gemma Garrett has hit back at disparaging comments made online about a new dating show about Northern Ireland beauty queens searching for love.

The six local beauties are taking part in dating programme which is slightly different to the norm.

And despite all being former beauty queens - they are having a difficult time finding "the one".

The programme will see them go on five dates with five men they have never met before.

But the glamorous ladies - who wouldn't be caught dead in public without their full face of make-up, their hair done and their glamorous clothes - aren't allowed any of that on their dates.

Those taking part include Gemma Garrett from Belfast who took the crown of Miss Great Britain in 2008, Orlaith McCallister from Belfast who was crowned Miss Belfast in 1999, Leanne McDowell who was crowned Miss Northern Ireland in 2015 and Rebecca Maguire, a former Miss Ireland 2012.

Also taking part is Karen Montague from Maghera who won Miss Ireland at the Miss Supra National Pageant in 2015 and Amira Graham from Belfast who is best known for the title of Miss Earth Northern Ireland.

The pilot programme features Gemma, who has hit back at negative comments posted online by both men and women about the programme ahead of its airing on Monday.

Some of the comments were about the appearance of the women taking part.

Gemma, who works as a professional make-up artist, hit back saying their comments "only confirmed" the message which the programme is about.

She responded: "The show is funny, cheeky and lighthearted with an under lying message to young girls about the pressures of society. To see some of the comments mostly from men but a few woman also about our looks and appearance only confirms the message and what the program is about.

"Why don't you wait to watch it before you jump onto your "Kindle 7" to make some nasty under handed comment about a woman who took part in a show.

She added: "May I add we are ALL former beauty Queens. I was Miss Great Britain 11 years ago. Catch a grip of yourselves."

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